Every Monday during the NFL season is filled with fans and media pundits’ overreactions. Someone must be blamed, especially when you lose your franchise quarterback for the season to a broken ankle.
Here are some of the best overreactions I’ve encountered in the aftermath of the 49ers 27-7 victory over Seattle on Sunday.
Kyle Shanahan is to blame for the injury to Trey Lance!
If you are in this camp, let me start by asking if you were upset by the play call which led to Deebo Samuel’s 51-yard gain.
The reason behind that question is simple, the Samuel run, and the Lance injury occurred on the same play call.
It’s a simple counter bash play that requires the quarterback to read the defensive end. Depending on how the end reacts, the quarterback is to either give the ball to the running back around the edge or keep and run the inside counter.
On the run by Samuel, Lance read to give. When they ran it two plays later, Lance chose to keep it.
The only way for Shanahan to not put Lance or any of his quarterbacks in harm’s way is to take the zone-read plays out of San Francisco’s playbook, and that’s not going to happen.
If you still want to blame Shanahan, blame him for drafting Trey Lance in the first place.
This isn’t meant as a knock against Lance.
Kyle Shanahan has long sought a quarterback to allow his offense to play 11-on-11 football, and he found that in Trey Lance.
Lance’s ability to run was one of his best traits at North Dakota State. In 17 career starts for the Bison, Lance carried the ball 184 times, and most of those coming on runs very similar to those called by Kyle Shanahan.
The 49ers offensive plan this season, with Lance taking over at quarterback, was evident. They wanted to run the ball often, take advantage of Lance’s ability by giving them an extra man opposing defenses must account for, and come off that with play-action throws that simplify the quarterback’s reads.
It’s a shame we don’t get to see if the plan would have worked.
Kyle Shanahan just wasted a year of development for Trey Lance!
The worst part of this whole thing is the long road Lance now faces to return.
Dealing with injuries is one of the loneliest things athletes need to deal with. Not only is their future in doubt, but they also aren’t able to go out and be with their teammates.
One positive piece of news is the injury could have been worse. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Lance’s injury was not a compound fracture like what Dak Prescott suffered in week five of 2020.
The second worst part is that Lance will now miss valuable snaps towards his development.
Since leading North Dakota State to the FCS championship in 2019, Lance has started only five games. His experience on the bench as a rookie was valuable, but this was his time to work through the ups and downs on the field.
Now he will need to wait until year three.
Now it’s Super Bowl or bust for the 49ers!
The future is now for San Francisco.
The injury to Lance means the 49ers face great uncertainty at the most critical position on the field after this season.
We didn’t know what Trey Lance would turn into heading into this season, and those questions will follow him into next year.
When Lance comes back, will he still be able to move around, or will he be stuck in the pocket?
Jimmy Garoppolo takes over for the remainder of this season; however, it shouldn’t be expected that he will return for another year. The veteran is playing to earn his next big payday for another organization.
San Francisco came into this season with one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. The only question was whether the new starting quarterback would be up to the task.
That question no longer exists. The quarterback who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl and NFC Championship game berth during his two full seasons as the starter is back.
The blueprint for success will be the same as was expected over the second half of 2021 and this season with Lance.
San Francisco will lean heavily on the run game with the quarterback being asked to move the chains off play action and short throws, which provide receivers opportunities to pick up yards after the catch.
The 49ers will also lean on a defensive unit that has allowed only 19 points through the first two weeks.
As you read in this space last week, football games are rarely won or lost by a single individual. It will take the entire roster pulling together for this team to win the 49ers sixth Lombardi Trophy.